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Curated top stories of the day
- Protests at Saudi meeting with UK PM – Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday at 10 Downing Street. The visit was part of a three-day stop meant to improve trade and defense relations between the two countries. The meeting faced criticism from protesters who disapprove of the Saudi monarchic government, and the country’s war in neighboring Yemen. The war has taken roughly 9,000 lives, the majority of them civilian, since March 2015. (Read more about the protest against the prince’s visit to Downing Street).
- Former spy and daughter targeted with nerve agent – An unspecified nerve agent was used to try to kill a Russian former spy and his daughter, according to British police (Video). Analysts have drawn comparisons (BBC, NYT, The Guardian) with the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko using highly radioactive polonium 210 which British authorities said was ordered by the Kremlin. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK would respond “robustly” to any proof of Russian official involvement. Anti-terrorism police leader Mark Rowley said that the first police officer to respond to the scene is in critical condition in hospital.
- Sergei and Yulia Skripal, 66 and 33, respectively, were found unconscious in Salisbury, England, on March 4. They remain in critical condition. (Read more WikiTribune coverage on this story).
- Stormy Daniels asks court to void Trump non-disclosure agreement – An adult-film actress, who says she had an intimate relationship with U.S. President Donald J. Trump, has asked a court to make the non-disclosure agreement void. She signed the agreement just before the 2016 election, but Trump’s lawyers have recently taken it to arbitration to get a restraining order to keep her silent. The legal agreement prevents Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, from discussing the details of the alleged sexual encounters. Trump’s lawyer denied the then-reality TV star and Daniels had an affair, but has admitted to paying Daniels under the agreement.
- Russia offers rebels passage – The Russian military offered Syrian rebels safe route out of Eastern Ghouta which the rebels have rejected. The United Nations believes 400,000 people are trapped in the Damascus suburb, and that Kremlin-backed government forces have killed hundreds of civilians in an assault that started February 18. Russia proposed to let the fighters surrender to President Bashar al-Assad and leave with their families and personal weapons through a secure route.
- United States accuses DPRK of using nerve agent – North Korea used the VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim Jong-un’s half brother in Malaysia in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of State. In response, the United States announced new sanctions on the “Hermit Kingdom” only a day after South Korean officials met with Kim. Both sides had agreed to hold summit talks in late April. The U.S. State Department said that North Korea’s action “underscores that we cannot afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind”.
- Prosecutors want 15 years for Shkreli – U.S. prosecutors want Martin Shkreli, the former drug company executive, to spend at least 15 years in prison after a conviction for fraud. The prosecutors say Shkreli’s lack of remorse merits a long sentence. Shkreli, 34, was convicted last August for lying to investors about the performance of his hedge funds and conspiring to manipulate the stock price of the drug company Retrophin Inc.
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- A former Russian double agent who came to Britain through a prisoner exchange is critically ill after possible exposure to an unknown substance, an incident that some UK MPs said carries “disturbing echoes” of the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko. Read WikiTribune’s report on the incident and help contribute.
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- The EU banned three insecticides for use on plants attractive to bees (New York Times) in 2013 after a review showed that they posed an acute risk to bees. Neonicotinoids in the insecticides are primarily used to kill pests on cereal crops. Help report on how an upcoming EU decision on lifting the ban could affect agriculture and food
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